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Outcome, Process & Power in Direct Democracy


  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Marcel Kucher
  • Alois Stutzer


Based on survey data for Switzerland, new empirical findings on direct democracy are presented. In the first part, we show that, on average, public employees receive lower financial compensation under more direct democratic institutions. However, top bureaucrats are more constrained in direct de m ocracies and have to be compensated by higher wages for that loss of power. In the second part, we demonstrate that reported subjective well-being of the population is much higher in jurisdictions with stronger direct democratic rights. This is not only the case because people value political outcomes higher but they derive utility from the politcal process itself.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey & Marcel Kucher & Alois Stutzer, 1999. "Outcome, Process & Power in Direct Democracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 222, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_222

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    Cited by:

    1. Hausken, Kjell & Knutsen, John F., 2010. "An enabling mechanism for the creation, adjustment, and dissolution of states and governmental units," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 4, pages 1-38.
    2. David Dorn & Justina Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2008. "Direct democracy and life satisfaction revisited: new evidence for Switzerland," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 227-255, June.
    3. Fischer, Anke & Hespelt, Sonja K. & Marggraf, Rainer, 2003. "Ermittlung der Nachfrage nach ökologischen Gütern der Landwirtschaft – Das Northeim-Projekt," German Journal of Agricultural Economics, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin, Department for Agricultural Economics, vol. 52(8).
    4. Kjell Hausken & John F. Knutsen, 2002. "The Birth, Adjustment and Death of States," Public Economics 0205004, EconWPA.
    5. Jens-Ulrich Peter & Klaus Reiner Schenk-Hopp�, "undated". "Business Cycle Phenomena in Overlapping Generations Economies with Stochastic Production," IEW - Working Papers 030, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    6. Schenk-Hoppe, Klaus Reiner & Schmalfu[ss], Bjorn, 2001. "Random fixed points in a stochastic Solow growth model," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 19-30, September.
    7. Klaus Zimmermann & Tobias Just, 2000. "Interest Groups, Referenda, and the Political Process: On the Efficiency of Direct Democracy," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 147-163, June.
    8. DAVID DORN & Justina Fischer & GEBHARD KIRCHGÄSSNER & ALFONSO SOUSA-POZA, 2005. "Is It Culture or Democracy? The Impact of Democracy, Income, and Culture on Happiness," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2005 2005-12, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.

    More about this item


    Direct democracy; power; compensating wage differentials; satisfaction with life; process utility;

    JEL classification:

    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions


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